Suspected ‘Straw Buyers’ Helped Traffic Guns From Arizona to Mexico, Say Officials

ATF’s failed Operation Fast and Furious allowed straw buyers, or those who legally purchased guns and illegally sell them to a third party, to walk guns into Mexico.  Here are some of the suspected buyers who bought hundreds of guns while under surveillance by the ATF.



    The suspected 'Straw Buyers' from left to right, Jacob Chambers, Jamie Avila, Manuel Acosta, Sean Stewart and Jose Polanco.


    Manuel Acosta, 23, is the suspected straw buyer ringleader of Operation Fast and Furious who coordinated the purchase of guns in Arizona and re-sale to Mexican drug cartel members.  He is the only suspect currently behind bars awaiting trial.  He faces 42 counts including conspiracy, dealing firearms without a license and money laundering.


    Jacob Chambers, 21, from Buckeye, Ariz. allegedly bought 73 weapons at a Phoenix-area gun shop. Chambers has a prior criminal record and under current federal law should not have been able to buy the guns.  He is charged with conspiracy, dealing in firearms without a license, and making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms


    Jose Polanco, 25, from Tolleson, Ariz. allegedly bought 3 weapons. He is charged with conspiracy and dealing firearms without a license.


    Jaime Avila, 25, from Phoenix, Ariz. allegedly bought 3 AK-47’s, two of which were found at the scene of the crime in the December shooting of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.   He is charged with conspiracy and dealing firearms without a license.


    Sean Stewart, 28, from Phoenix, Ariz. allegedly bought 290 guns. Stewart’s felony criminal record includes resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and violating a harassment order.  His criminal record should have been a red flag to the FBI when doing his background check, preventing or delayed his purchase of the guns.
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